Potter and Boehly agree that keeping Chelsea man is ‘last resort’ as they ‘probe’ sale

Joe Williams
Chelsea player Romelu Lukaku walks to the bench

Chelsea boss Graham Potter and Todd Boehly are in agreement that they don’t see Romelu Lukaku as part of their long-term plans, according to reports.

The Blues paid £97.5m to sign Lukaku from Inter Milan in 2021 after bagging 64 goals in 95 appearances over two seasons for the Serie A giants.

Despite finishing as top goalscorer with 15 goals in all competitions last season, Chelsea allowed him to leave on loan back to Inter Milan until the end of the campaign.

Lukaku has struggled with fitness issues on his return to Inter with the 29-year-old only making 15 appearances in all competitions so far this term.

There have been calls to bring in back in the summer with Chelsea failing to bring in a new centre-forward in the last two windows despite forking out £600m and struggling to score goals.

But Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) claims that Lukaku ‘is not in the Blues’ plans and his return would be a last resort’ with Chelsea boss Potter not ‘enthusiastic about his return, and the same goes for the ownership’.

Chelsea owner and Potter ‘would therefore not mind a second one-year loan before probing the ground for a permanent transfer’. Speaking of a possible return to Stamford Bridge for Lukaku the report adds that there is a ‘minor probability of [it] happening, but certainly not impossible’.

But Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand thinks that Lukaku could be a useful addition to Potter’s squad if the Chelsea boss lasts until the summer.

Ferdinand said on BT Sport: “I spoke to him just when he signed for Chelsea, he’d left Inter and obviously left [Antonio] Conte. One of the main things that you could see that he was delighted about was his physical condition, which was driven by the manager – Conte at the time.

“If he can get back fit again, this guy has proven he is a goalscorer, simple as that.”

Ferdinand added: “I think new manager, give him a chance. I think he’s got no-one in there that he obviously trusts at the moment. Aubameyang isn’t even in the European squad. This guy is just a goal machine, he just knows how to score.

“Okay, he’s not fit, he’s carrying a bit more weight than normal – or what he’d like, and what the club would like. But he still comes on and scores two goals in the last two games.”

Fellow pundit Owen Hargreaves also doubts his career at Chelsea is over, he said: “No, no chance. Especially with how much they’ve spent, and they still don’t have a centre-forward.

“They’ve got a really good one, just get him fit. He’s proven, Rio’s right, his body of work shows he scores goals so why would you not try and integrate him back in the summer.”

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